Young Scientist - January 2014

Young Scientist - January 2014

Four projects represented Loreto College in the Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS this year and all of the girls did a great job chatting to the judges and public alike, not to mention the media!  The girls had a great time and made lots of new friends and showed off some great scientific research.

Clodagh Cullen from first year carried out an investigation into the pastimes of Dublin teenagers. With her 'Study of Blue'. Clodagh wished to find out what students do with their spare time and whether or not adults have a good appreciation for what teenagers actually spend their time on. Clodagh found that adults overestimate the amount of time teenagers spend watching TV and social networking and that adults actually spend a lot more time watching television than teenagers do!

Kate Madden from second year investigated whether Mars Bars make a pony run faster. With the help of her sisters she compared the speed of her two galloping ponies over a series of trials and found that the Mars Bars did not have a positive effect on the speed of the ponies. Kate received great attention with a mention in the opening ceremony from the President plus a visit from the President together with various mentions in news articles and radio interviews!

Here are a number of Kate's media appearances

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/president-opens-young-scientist-exhibition-1.1648514:

Orla Sherlock and Jane Kavanagh, also in second year, conducted a study into the advantages of being left handed and found left handers had better multi-tasking skills and are faster typists along with having a tendency towards being artistic and musical! There was a lovely photo of the two girls published in The Irish Independent:

http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/education/bt-young-scientist-of-the-year/from-hitech-to-high-jinks-as-titan-steals-the-show-at-bt-young-scientists-show-29903986.html (go to second picture).

Fiona Carey and Saoirse O'Dwyer’s project was a chemistry investigation comparing the solubility of various painkillers. They carried out a great study, developing their school SciFest project and did a wonderful job of presenting their findings.

Geography Awareness Week

Geography Awareness Week

The second annual Geography Awareness Week took place in Ireland last week 18th -22nd November 2013. The girls in Loreto joined in the international awareness campaign where the theme was ‘An Exploration of Water’. A photo competition was held and many entries were submitted with the theme of water. Winners were selected from the Junior and Senior categories and congratulations go to Alice O’Hagan in 6th Year whose photo was captioned ‘Beauty on our Doorstep’ and to Virginia Tozer in 1st Year whose photo was entitled ‘Fishing and Flushing’.  A ‘Mega-Map’ was displayed on the corridor to create awareness and thanks go to all the girls who helped in the decoration and display of the map.

 

Science Gallery Transition Year Course - Zara Khan’s Blog continues

Science Gallery Transition Year Course - Zara Khan’s Blog continues

Week 5
After a long wait, we had the chance to see how our Aliivibrio Fischeri had got on and examine how they had cultured. Unfortunately, we were met with disappointment when we did not observe any bioluminescence. We discovered that this was due to the fact that the concentrations of the bacterial colonies were not strong enough to cause a glowing appearance. Through the course of the previous week, salt water had been added to the Agar Plate and this helped the bacteria to culture more rapidly and abundantly.  Hence, we decided to re-culture our sample in an agar and saltwater solution and leave it to harbour for a longer period of time in order to see if we could find any success with the bioluminescence!

Leading on from last week’s homework about not requiring immense machinery in science, we had a guest speaker called Shaun who is a working scientist at Trinity. He showed us various YouTube clips such as a video from Professor Brian Cox, demonstrating a scientific experiment to measure how much energy from the sun falls on the Earth's surface using a few simple household items (HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c17t_Pf8vI4"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c17t_Pf8vI4), and a more humorous, but quite startling, documentary about the existence of spider goats- goats who produce spider silk (HYPERLINK "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0zT9CN3-50" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0zT9CN3-50). We used the second half of the session to develop our projects, using brainstorms to begin discussions about various aspects which were very helpful!

Our homework this week included thinking about ways in which to present our project.  For example, would it be a story, an advertising campaign or a video? Each group also received individual links for different articles to help them with their objectives.
 

Read On →

Science Gallery Transition Year Course

Science Gallery Transition Year Course

A number of Transition Year Students attended a five week science course in the Science Gallery.  This is a meeting of second and third level students together with industry and they have been involved in some very exciting projects.
Zara Khan has written the blog below about  the first four weeks of the course.  Week four which was her favourite involved the dissection of a Bobtail Squid (see attached photo).

Week 1

This was our first week at the Science Gallery Transition Year Course and we weren’t sure what to expect!  This session acted as an introductory lecture where we met our teachers, Jane and Conor.  We were told what participation in this course would entail with regards to the topics we would cover and our aims for the end of the placement. After briefly learning about Synthetic Biology we were encouraged to come up with our own ideas of how we could use practical applications of Synthetic Biology in our everyday lives, before compiling our ideas on a brainstorm board. We were told that we would break into groups at a later stage; depending on which development we were intrigued by, and innovate a prototype, as well as presenting a project on our chosen area. Overall, after this first experience, I was really looking forward to what the next week would hold!

Read On →

First Year’s Maths Competition

Well done to all the first years who took part in the first round of the Irish Maths Teachers Association competition in Castleknock College.  The best of luck to Sarah Duffy, 1M, who has made it through to the finals.

International Science & Engineering Fair

Good luck to Aoife Gregg who has just arrived out in Pittsburgh to display her work at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Aoife is representing Ireland following her success at the Young Scientist Exhibition where she won the Intel Travel Award along with the Individual Runner Up Award.

Her project, entitled "1400 Years Of Change: Letter Frequency in the Irish Language" is an extension of her Young Scientist project. She has investigated the use of letter and pattern frequency in the Irish language to develop a dating tool for documents written in Irish.

International Science & Engineering Fair

We wish Aoife the very best of luck this week!